Its been my routine to send out sms's to friends a day before Ramadhan begins. You just have to love this sms thing. Its an easy and cheap way to keep in touch. A simple sms wish inform the other person that we are thinking of them, especially during meaningful events.
I love to receive sms wishes too, although some complained to me that since now I am in Geneva, its a little bit expensive for them to send sms to me. Mahal la siut! Hang tak pe la dapat swiss franc, a friend replied. Which I understood very well. But no matter, its my thought that counts.
I am still exercising although now since I am fasting, I slowed down a little bit. Just once a day for about 40 minutes. I think that should be enough to stay fit and maintain my current weight.
One of the interesting discussion that I had with my Swiss friends here is about that caning sentence of Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, the part time model who were found guilty for drinking alcohol by the Syariah Court.
Their views are what as I expected. They labeled it as a barbaric and an inhuman act. Personally, I felt that Kartika should be given a chance to redeem herself and perhaps counseling is the best way to deal with the situation before any drastic penalty were to be taken against her. I really think that our authorities back home are projecting the wrong image of Islam, which provides for compassion and repenting for mistakes and wrongdoings.
I also detest the seemingly selective prosecutions and double standards practiced by the Islamic authorities. I mean, Kartika is not the only Malay Muslim who drinks alcohol in Malaysia. What about those VIPs and public figures? Its a true fact that these guys also indulge in the same thing. Why not go for them too. I for one would love to see them caned in public. If an example has to be made, they are the most suitable candidate for their well known popularity and wide reach influences. Perhaps when their bare VIP asses got whipped, people will then take note.
But as I mentioned earlier, its the wrong message sent to the world. On one hand the Government spend millions to project Malaysia as a moderate Islamic country. On the other, these kind of publicity stunts, killed off any serious efforts by the Government of doing that prematurely.
Don't get me wrong, this is not about Kartika drinking problems. This is about the way we do things in Malaysia. Which I found truly questionable.
After all, if our authorities are serious in curbing alcohol and its related problem, the root cause should be addressed. In other countries, campaigns and rally were organized to educate the public and highlight the serious consequences of alcohol consumptions. Why not spend millions on that? For sure it could save somebody's life. And for example, if the authorities could impose the need to paste horrific pictures of smoking related diseases on every pack of cigarettes, why not take the same line and paste that on alcohol drinks too. This is definitely not a problem of one half of the community. This problem transcends above and beyond religious boundaries as well.
People will not remember the Islam Hadhari or whatever good deeds that we did. Rather, what will linger in their minds will be the horrid visual imagination of Kartika being caned.
And I am sure we dont want that to cloud their senses and judgment.